This little ditty is about someone I know quite well–my Dad. He celebrated his 80th birthday today. We threw him a party with close family which he thoroughly enjoyed.
My task for the party was to write up his life story. You never really know your parents until you take an objective look at their lives. The Dad I’ve know at different times in my life wasn’t the whole picture. Writing his story helped me see that.
My Dad was born to a French immigrant and a San Francisco native with French roots. He was raised Roman Catholic. He went to school through the 9th grade then dropped out. He wasn’t very good at school and wife his oldest brother off to war, he had to help his parents through the depression. He worked at the family laundries, at a bicycle shop, and then at Safeway bakeries.
In 1951 he was draft and went off to Japan and then Korea. He was a cook during the war. He came home in 1953.
Upon return, he got his job back with Safeway. He married my Mom in 1955 and they immediately began a family. His brother was drafted soon after and my Dad took over his gas station. It was too hard raising a family on what little he made so he sold the gas station and went back to Safeway where he worked for 30+ years. He also took a second job as mechanic to a roofing company.
In between work, raising a family, and the stress of life, he began volunteering at Little League. He managed a couple of teams. Then when his sons no longer played, he managed some more. He put in 30 years at Little League. He was there every weekend working the field and helped out with the tournaments.
It’s little wonder that my Dad only slept 4 hours a day. He worked graveyard, slept a couple hours, went over to Little League, came home for dinner, slept an hour or two and went back to work. Even with all that he took us to doctor and dentist appointments, went on school field trips, and saw all our elementary school plays and band performances.
Now that I look back on this, I don’t see the grumpy father who had little patience. I see a man who worked hard for his family and then had some left over to help local kids learn about team work. It’s truly remarkable when I think about it! I wonder how many kids today could say their father was a role model not only for them but for the neighborhood?